Language-Specific Model Versioning Based on Signifiers

By: Philip Langer, Manuel Wimmer, Jeff Gray, Gerti Kappel, Antonio Vallecillo


In model-driven engineering (MDE), models constitute the central artifacts in the development process, and thus, are often built by teams of developers. As a consequence, adequate version control for models is crucial to the success of MDE-based projects. Several model versioning systems have been proposed recently. Most of them are generic in the sense that they are agnostic to modeling languages. Although this ensures a wide applicability, important merge issues may not be detected. In this paper, we present an orthogonal extension to generic model versioning systems for enabling the detection of an important subset of language-specific merge issues. Users may enhance the versioning system's capabilities by defining signifiers, which describe the combination of features of a model element type that convey the superior meaning of its instances. Signifiers improve the different phases of the versioning process including comparing and merging models leading to a higher quality of the finally merged models. We showcase the applicability of our approach by enhancing the versioning support for the modeling language Ecore.


Model-driven Engineering; Model Evolution; Model Comparison; Model Versioning

Cite as:

Philip Langer, Manuel Wimmer, Jeff Gray, Gerti Kappel, Antonio Vallecillo, “Language-Specific Model Versioning Based on Signifiers”, Journal of Object Technology, Volume 11, no. 3 (October 2012), pp. 4:1-34, doi:10.5381/jot.2012.11.3.a4.

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The JOT Journal   |   ISSN 1660-1769   |   DOI 10.5381/jot   |   AITO   |   Open Access   |    Contact